Ousted village chiefs detained in probe
Eight former village leaders whose alleged actions sparked a peasant revolt in Wukan, Guangdong province, last year have been detained and are being investigated for financial mismanagement and irregularities involving land sales, an official provincial news portal reported yesterday.
The disciplinary committee from the city of Lufeng, which is located in Shanwei and oversees Wukan, announced on Friday morning that eight out of nine members of the village committee and its Communist Party committee had been placed under shuanggui, a disciplinary system for party members outside the legal system, Sznews.com reported.
Authorities pledged to punish the officials for the irregularities suspected in the selling of villagers' land and in the managing of financial records.
Earlier this year, the villagers democratically elected seven new members of the village committee after provincial leaders stepped in and intervened in December following a heated series of protests following the death of protest leader Xue Jinbo in September.
Provincial officials then cut a deal with the villagers that led to the committee election, which was considered an unusual concession from Guangdong authorities, led by ambitious party boss Wang Yang.
Three special teams formed previously by the provincial party to tackle issues of land sales, financial management and inappropriate actions by Wukan cadres have uncovered serious irregularities that directly harmed the villagers' financial interests, the portal reported.
Financial issues included embezzled public funds, non-recorded income, multiple accounts and insufficient public supervision due to a lack of transparency. There was also no public consultation on important decisions. Some projects reportedly involved no bidding or contracts.